Preventing gum disease and cavities is a daily challenge, it requires patience and diligence. Every day your mouth is filled with oral debris—as food particles are left behind after you eat, bacteria accumulates and thrives, and plaque collects on the teeth and around the gum line. Daily brushing and flossing is your best tool when it comes to prevention. Brushing your teeth cleans the top and sides, but cannot reach in between teeth.
Flossing reaches those crevices between teeth where bacteria hides. Flossing makes you less prone to gingivitis (gum disease) arising from hardened plaque in addition to dental caries. Left untreated, plaque will irritate gum tissue and cause gum sensitivity. Once plaque turns into tartar (a hardened mineral deposit), it will need to be removed by your dentist. Finding the right dental floss is a matter of personal choice, but it will only be effective if you use it:
Oral Irrigators: Oral irrigators use a pulsating stream of water to flush plaque and food particle debris which allows them to combat gingivitis. Aiming the water stream at the gum line gently removes particles, making it twice as effective as dental floss at reducing bleeding gums.
Unwaxed vs. Waxed Floss: Unwaxed floss absorbs food particles better than waxed floss. It also doesn’t catch on the rough edges of chipped teeth, making it less likely to shred. Unwaxed floss is thinner than waxed threads, allowing it to maneuver easily between crowded teeth.
Waxed floss has a Teflon coating which allows it to slide easily between teeth. This makes it useful for cleaning tightly spaced teeth. Waxed floss can be found in mint or cinnamon flavors to make your breath feel fresh, although some do not like that the coating is Teflon, adding a chemical in the mouth.
Floss Picks: Floss picks are easy for people who have limited manual dexterity when it comes to holding floss properly–such as children and older people. Floss picks are also capable of reaching the molars in the back of the mouth. However, picks are not as effective as string floss because they cannot form a U-curve around each tooth as it slides up and down.
Whichever flossing method you use doesn’t particularly matter as much as finding one you will actually use every single day. If you have any questions about flossing or would like to see one of our caring doctors, give our dental team a call at 734.668.6612 today!